Poppy Table

Before developing the rectilinear Craftsman style, Gustav Stickley experimented with curvaceous Art Nouveau designs.
By Robert W. Lang
Pages: 36-41

From the December 2007 issue #166
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In 1898, Gustav Stickley took a working vacation. With more than 20 years of experience as a furniture maker, he was ready to change direction, and he headed across the Atlantic Ocean for inspiration. The Arts & Crafts movement was strong in England, while in France the latest thing was L’Art Nouveau.

In 1900 Stickley debuted several new designs marketed as “New Furniture” by the Tobey company of Chicago. This table was one of the most striking of those pieces, heavily influenced by Art Nouveau and a far cry from the rectilinear designs of the Craftsman style furniture he would become best known for.

There is a hint of things to come, however. The edges of the top, shelf and legs are all sinuous curves, but the surfaces are essentially flat, and the corners are just barely broken. It also presents an interesting engineering problem. Beneath the carved surfaces and waving edges, the table is based on a pentagon, so the angles between the stretchers, shelf and five legs are at 72?, not 90º.

This “Poppy Table” has been on my to-do list for a long time, and when I came across some good photos from an auction, I decided that the time was right to go ahead.

Online Extra

To download full size drawings of the Poppy Table for $3.00, click here to purchase.

From the December 2007 issue #166
Buy this issue now